The little town of Castelnaudary, in the Lauragais area of Aude, is the capital of cassoulet. This famous culinary speciality of the south-west, the family meal of choice, goes back to the Middle Ages and is one of the most widely-enjoyed dishes in France!
To make the true Castelnaudary cassoulet, whose main ingredients are white beans, confit of duck or goose thighs, hock or shoulder of pork, Toulouse sausages and pork rind, there are certain rules to follow: a "cassole", a type of cooking pot made of Issel earthenware, must be used, along with ingredients from the Lauragais area, and the dish must be slow-cooked at a low heat. This ancient tradition is honoured by the Great Brotherhood of the Castelnaudary Cassoulet!
The Castelnaudary Cassoulet Route is a circular trail covering 180 kilometres, dotted with farms which produce cassoulet ingredients (white beans, ducks, geese, pigs), potters' studios, restaurants and conserve producers, and is an unmissable gastronomic circuit for anyone wishing to taste and learn more about this famous, legendary dish. Gourmets and walkers alike can take advantage of their time at Castelnaudary to enjoy a hike along the banks of the Canal du Midi basin.
Not to be missed is the Cassoulet Festival, which takes place in Castelnaudary during the last weekend in August, with tastings, a gourmets' market, a floral procession, entertainment, shows and concerts!